I once visited my friend’s church in a Chicago suburb.
They had all the right church hospitality systems:
- Smiling church greeters at the door,
- Friendly conversation.
- Staffed information table.
These factors helped me feel warmly welcomed as a first time visitor and made a great first impression.
Sadly, that warm feeling didn’t last beyond the lobby.
They were sabotaged!
Undermining the Church Greeters
When I entered the sanctuary, an unfriendly church usher handed me a program.
He didn’t even notice me, as he was engaged in his ongoing conversation with a peer about a college ball game.
During worship, we were invited to participate in the “ritual of friendship.”
I was the first one in the pew. I filled out the name and address and put a big check in the “first time visitor” column.
We passed a registration pad down the pew.
Eventually the pad came back to me. Looking it over, I noticed everyone in the pew had checked “member.”
Moments later, the liturgy called for the “passing of the peace.”
We stood up, but no one in the pew welcomed me, said hello, or shook my hand.
The warm and friendly church greeters were sabotaged!
You can do better!
Research indicates the primary question on the minds of church visitors:
- Is this a friendly church?
- Of the top five criteria, this is number one.
- The primary way its answered is the number of people who initiate conversation with them.
- The most common reasons guests give for returning to church is the friendliness and warmth of the people.
6 Quick Tips for a Friendlier Church
So let me give you 6 quick tips that can help you tackle this one aspect of church hospitality
- Break the comfort zone and greet people you don’t know.
- Remember their name.
- Introduce them to someone else.
- Invite them to Sunday school or fellowship time after service.
- Offer to pray with them before they leave.
- Greet them by name the next week if they come back.
Read this Evangelism Coach Tutorial on Church Hospitality to see more about how to welcome church visitors.
EvangelismCoach Resources to help you
Each one of these tools can help you with your other aspects of your church hospitality.
Click on their links to learn more.
- Church Greeters 101 – Aimed at helping you recruit and organize your greeter ministry.
- Create a Culture of Church Hospitality – audio download that includes 14 ways to cast vision.
- Church Greeter Training DVDs – DVD with free shipping to us, or download version available.
- Evaluate your Church hospitality – audio download on reviewing your systems
- How to Welcome Church Visitors (ebook)